The speeches that saved the Golden Globes

If you live outside Los Angeles, with its bounty of billboards for For Your Consideration, I have a question for you: Did you know that the Golden Globes were televised last night?

If you don’t, there’s a good reason: NBC pulled the show from the air last year after a Los Angeles Times The revelations revealed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the ridiculously small voting body behind the awards, lacked diversity in its members and engaged in questionable ethical and financial practices. This year, the network committed to a one-off trial to air The Globes again, however Many industry Knowledgeable and educated He wondered if the show could bounce back from its string of scandals. IndieWire put it heavily in its address: “Will you survive the Golden Globes?”

Of course they did. The show continued last night: Celebrities crowd the ballroom. Awards were handed out, and several standing ovations were given. But if the party felt like a success, it’s not because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was kind to publicists whose talent shunned the organization. The show was interesting not only because many of the winners spoke candidly in front of their peers about their careers, but also because they were the kind of entertainers who rarely get a chance to do so at all.

Just watch the way actor Ke Huy Quan, who won his supporting work in Everything everywhere at onceHe seemed to shake when he got on stage. Explaining how he once thought of his time as a child actor – he played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom– will determine his career. “As I got older, I started to wonder if that was the case, if it was just luck,” he said. “For many years, I was afraid that I had nothing to offer—no matter what I did, I would never outgrow what I did as a child.”

The film’s star, actress Michelle Yeoh, echoed her feelings of fear and resignation in her acceptance speech shortly after. “I remember when I first came to Hollywood — it was a dream come true until I got here,” she said. Because look at that face. I came here and was told, ‘You’re in the minority.'” Hours later, white lotus‘s Jennifer Coolidge has also spoken out about her skepticism, even as she joked about finally being invited to parties. “I just want you all to know that I have big dreams and big expectations as a younger person,” she said. “It faded.”

These weren’t typical awards ceremony speeches, and they’re all gratitude for the agents and inspirational sound bites for those watching at home. These felt like confessions — and they didn’t come from mere actors. Steven Spielberg, after winning Best Director, told the room how it was made Fablemans It allowed him to honestly note how “no one really knows who we are,” and “the fact that everyone sees me as a success story.” Ryan Murphy, who received an honorary Golden Globe award, has used his time on stage to endorse some of the biggest stars of his shows and movies, including Billy Porter and Michaela J. Rodriguez. He reminded the audience that these actors have spent most of their careers denied the opportunity to work because of their gender or gender identity.

The show’s format could not inspire such self-reflection. As much concern as there was about whether the Globes could have any stars in attendance, in the end, the ceremony itself only made routine moves. There was a statement in the last half hour of the show that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was going through a “huge change,” referring to internal reforms The group, including adding black journalists, banning gifts to its members, and setting up a hotline to report misconduct. There the host, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, was gently teasing the HFPA for not including a single black member among its pre-show ranks. Carmichael was the same His wonderful, very expected. He explained how he resolved ethical questions about whether to be the “black face of a beleaguered white organization,” but covered up a persistent problems. “No matter what [HFPA’s] The past may be, this is an evening to celebrate, and I think this industry deserves evenings like this,” Carmichael said. “I’m glad you’re all here.”

Perhaps the question of whether the globe will ever return to its former glory is the wrong one. The real dilemma is whether awards shows should exist at all amid declining ratings and interest. What is it, other than an opportunity for an isolated scientist to commend himself? Hollywood conventional wisdom says that these festivities make excellent publicity props: they allow overlooked movies and TV shows to finally get some attention from the general public. Studios would time their films to be widely released after the Globes; That’s what happened with 1917 in 2020.

But last night showed, inadvertently, that posts like this can be invaluable platforms for real storytelling. Sure, those precious seconds onstage before the interlude music begins are meant to be used to thank every housemate ever, but the most distinguished winners gave speeches that weren’t just about their own project. They talked about uncertainty, about regret, about the kind of apprehension that can overwhelm anyone trying to achieve a dream. Hollywood can seem like a glamorous, inaccessible corporation—especially during black-tie festivities populated by A-listers—but in these stories of angst and angst, the industry never feels too far away.

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